Genesee Co. sheriff proposes joint violent crime response unit

Violent crime impacted Denise Smith Allen personally, when her step-grandson, Anthony Allen, Jr., was shot to death Monday.

The deadly shooting on Orange Lane claimed the life of 20-year-old Anthony Allen, Jr. Monday. He joins a dozen others killed in Flint, this year alone.

"To have something like this happen brings it home personally for me,â?? said Denise Allen Smith, Allenâ??s step-grandmother.

She attended an impromptu meeting to hear what the Genesee County sheriff, Flint police chief and prosecutors are doing to clean up violent crime.

Sheriff Robert Pickell is proposing a joint local, county and state police plan to set up a mobile crime response unit. It would involve six sheriffâ??s deputies, six Flint police officers, a couple of state police officers and one officer each from four townships with high crime rates.

"We would go into those high crime areas and saturate the area,â?? Pickell explained, through patrols and surveillance. He has yet to pitch it to the state for funding. It would cost roughly $3 million for personnel and equipment. Thatâ??s money neither Genesee County nor the City of Flint has.

While police grapple with the lack of money, people say violent crime thrives because of a lack of family, education and jobs.

Denise Smith Allen says part of the solution is nurturing and equipping youth.

"Particularly males, particularly African American males,â?? she said, â??to stand up, and be engaged in their children, grandchildren, nephews, and that kind of thing."

That kind of thing is what Sheriff Pickell hopes a long term approach to fixing one of the state's most violent cities should address.

"Hopefully at some point, we're going to investigate the causes of crime,â?? Pickell said.